2/16 235 years ago you would have been standing beside Mr Bellis’s 18 acre Turnpike Field, part of 140 acres of Lamb Farm bought in 1789 by Samuel Rhodes, stretching west to London Fields. The 1st streets to be laid out across it in 1821 were Roseberry Place, Mayfield and Woodland Streets, running parallel to Kingsland Road.
3/16 Go down the steps to Dalton Square and turn right towards Forest Road heading along what was Roseberry Place. Note in the square ceramic heads which once decorated the theatre, here from the 1880s. The names of the blocks of flats are associated with the Four Aces and later Labyrinth Clubs which from 1964-99 occupied the old theatre building which was demolished in 2007
4/16 At Forest Road walk left to the corner with Forest Grove on the right. Here at this corner, the first Dalston Library was destroyed by a V2 rocket late in the afternoon on 4 January 1945. Librarians and children from the nearby school changing their books were killed.
5/16 Head down Forest Grove through the post-war estate to Richmond Road. Turn right and follow the road over the railway line, the second train line to cross Hackney in 1865 connecting Dalston Junction to the City at Broad Street Station. Before the end of Richmond Road take the road ahead down the side of the railway: Glebe Road.
6/16 Walk along this cobbled lane. Glebe means land to maintain a parish priest. This road was laid out on land belonging to the Rector of Stoke Newington along the side of Kingsland Road from Stonebridge Common to Forest Road. It is not clear how the Stoke Newington Rector came to have land here in Hackney. Turn right at end of the lane into Middleton Road. Cross over to the Fox Pub/
7/16 The pub was named after the first licensee Edward Fox in 1727. When built the pub would have been the only building, if not one of a very few buildings, on Kingsland Road between Shoreditch and today’s Dalston Junction. The pub closed in 2018 for refurbishment and adding flats above. Go left down Kingsland Road past the long, curved line of Kingsland Crescent, built in 1792-3 amidst open fields.
8/16 At the traffic lights cross Kingsland Road to Downham Road. The recently built flats on the corner were erected on the site of a Fire Station from 1895 to 2014. Rebuilt in 1977, the original building had a turret which was used to spot German planes in the world wars. Kingsland Road is the eastern extent of land bought in 1686 by Richard de Beauvoir from Guernsey.
9/16 Head back up Kingsland Road to the Metropolitan Hospital (now House) on the left. Founded in 1836for patients ‘whose only recommendations are poverty, destitution and disease,’ the hospital moved here in 1885. In 1896 12 of its 60 beds were for Jewish patients who had their own cook and doctor. Part of the NHS in 1948, the hospital closed in 1977 with 146 beds.
10/16 Carry on up Kingsland Road. On the other side of the road from Middleton to Forest Roads are some of the oldest houses in Hackney. They were built for artisans and labourers often only 1 room deep; 3 rooms, one above the other. The oldest surviving is no. 436 dating from 1758.
11/16 On Saturdays the pavement in front is the site of Kingsland Waste Market. The market is named for its location on waste land (see above), not a comment on what was sold! The market moved here in 1890 from further up the road. Once it was full of 39 stalls from The Fox to Forest Road selling furniture, bikes, crockery, clothes et al. The market was closed by the council in 2015 and relaunched in 2018.
12/16 Continue on up Kingsland Road. The road takes its name as it led north to the settlement of Kingsland on the other side of today’s junction with Balls Pond Road/Dalston Lane. It forms part of a 2000 year old road, ‘Ermine Street’, constructed by the Romans from London Bridge to York. Pause and imagine how many different people have travelled this route down the centuries……
13/16 No 522 on the other side of the road is William Gee’s. The business was started in 1906 as a small trimmings shop by East European immigrant William Goldstein with £2 worth of stock. It expanded over the years to employ 70-80 staff making zips, threads, haberdashery, buttons, linings. The shop’s interior still maintains an old-fashioned feel.
14/16 At the corner with Stamford and Tottenham Roads from 1939-1979 was the 2064 seater Dalston Odeon. On the other side of the street between Kingsland Road and today’s Dalston Square was a strip of land owned by St Bartholomew’s Hospital, which by 1775 had built 13 houses there: Nos. 542-566, now behind shop fronts.
15/16 At the next corner briefly turn left into Bentley Road. High on the wall opposite notice a plaque showing St Bartholomew’s Hospital coat of arms. Barts also owned land this side of Kingsland Road; in 1549 it annexed the Lepers’ Hospital which had been founded about 1290 on this site. The hospital filled the block along Balls Pond Road. The hospital closed in 1760.
16/16 After crossing Balls Pond Road look back to see high up on the wall, of what was the Star and Garter pub, a marker of the boundary between Hackney and Islington. The boundary ran through the middle of the Lepers’ hospital chapel and then the pub which was built on the site by 1851. Barts sold the pub in 1920.